Feeling trapped by a title or industry?

Perhaps it’s the ongoing Pandemic, but I feel like I have hit a wall with being trapped inside for too long. The more challenging part of this realization, is that I don’t see my personal situation changing any day soon. Yes, I know it will, and that plenty of others feel this way too, but patience is not one of my specialties. Results are, which makes feeling like I am trapped even tougher.

Ok, thanks for letting me vent. I feel better now, and can get on with talking about another form of feeling, or being trapped professionally and what you can do about this. For me, having a solution, even just one, makes me feel empowered and able to conquer any obstacle in my way. In terms of a person who is feeling defined by the work they do, or the industry they are in was something I was having a conversation about this morning.

The conversation was in fact energizing. It also made me consider some alternatives to how I could offer advice to others who might be feeling trapped. Either personally or professionally by the role they play in an organization.

Although you might not consider people at the top of an organization would feel trapped or isolated in their roles, I can tell you for a fact and through experience this isn’t the case. Many top executives or leaders have experienced a sense of being defined by their roles, the organization they work for, or the industry they are in. Many of them are proud of having achieved the roles they are in, but many of these same people are not experiencing the satisfaction you might imagine they would be.

I was reading an article the other day and came across an interesting title. The title was Chief Wellness Officer. The role was loosely defined, and underscored the fact this was not a human resource role. I found that to be interesting, but given the mental health crisis occurring in our society currently, and the fact it is being exacerbated by the Pandemic, I thought this newly defined role was refreshing to learn about. Also, quite timely.

Although the definition of the Chief Wellness Officer role wasn’t clearly defined, it struck me as a moment in time when reality and the needs of employees were catching up to be in synch. Now, the challenge will be to see this role better defined and implemented.

Let’s circle back to the situation you might be in where you are feeling unfairly defined by your title. If you are in a supportive role, there is a greater chance you are feeling trapped in playing a follower role, versus a leadership one. However, not everyone is meant to take on the role of a leader, but if you think you are, and you not in this role yet, I guarantee you know what I am referring to. Now, let’s imagine for a moment no one had a title. What would this type of work environment look like, and how would it exist without structure and by well-defined rules to play by? It might be completely chaotic, or it might flow well. Most would say it would be chaotic, but I would bet they have not experienced the type of work environment which would make them think differently.

If you are wondering how to do what I’ll refer to as reassemble the direction of your title or the industry you are in, one of the things you will need to do is to embody one word. That word is “pivot”. It’s become one of my favorite words. One in fact I have embraced and lived by as a guiding support the last four years as a business entrepreneur. I’ll credit a wise woman name Anita Brearton for introducing me to both this word, and the concept of it. Thank you, Anita, for sharing this with me at exactly the time I needed to hear it.

Although by definition the word pivot is clearly defined, the exact direction you go in from your pivot will depend. It will depend on how you want to leverage your skills, your knowledge and your network to help you to head you in a more preferable direction. I like the word pivot because it factors in leveraging all of your acquired experience and then taking it into the direction of your preference. Whether that be into a new role with a completely different type of title, or potentially a different industry.

Since I generally provide suggestions in each of my articles, I’ll continue with this tradition. Here are some ways you can pivot in your current title or industry.

  • Clearly define and write down why you want to change from the role or industry you are in.
  • Do you feel held back, incomplete, underutilized or invisible in the role you are playing? Consider the factors contributing to this. Are the majority of the reasons based on circumstances beyond your current control (e.g., You want to own a surf shop and you live in Oklahoma)?
  • It’s easier to cast blame on others for why you are potentially stuck or trapped in your role or industry. Honestly think about whether this may or may not be true.
  • Are you leveraging your network to help you to pivot? Have you expressed to anyone that this is something you want to do?
  • You know the old adage of “Those without a plan, are setting themselves up to fail”. Make sure you have some version of a plan to set yourself up for success.

I could add numerous other suggestions, but at some point, if you are going to seek and change a situation you are in, you have to be the one in charge of doing so. Yes, you can ask and should seek support, but ultimately only you can be the one to put your foot on the accelerator to move forward. Just make sure you have enough fuel or that your battery life is charged up enough to take you to where you ultimately want to go. I’ll see you there!

TAGS: #Leadership #Management #CareerAdvice #Motivation #ChangeManagement #PeopleDevelopment #Business #AnitaBrearton #Success #Howtopivot #Pivotingyourcareer #Pivotingyourexperience #Mindset #Professionalnetwork #Pandemic #Feelingtrapped #Feelingtrappedinyourrole

ABL: Always be learning…

School was never fun for me, and I always admired the people who said they loved school. Although I didn’t love all the aspects of gaining an education, the part of it I really liked was the continuous learning process. The unveiling and unraveling of new information that I was building on as I consumed more knowledge about a particular topic.

When I think back to how learning is set-up before you are 18 years old, most of the information was delivered in a format that wasn’t in synch with my particular learning style. My ideal learning style is a combination of hands on (e.g., kinesthetic) and visually learning about a topic. Of course, not all topics in school can be taught this way, but when they were, I found I excelled and retained the information much better.

Finding your learning style is important. It might not be something you have considered, but I’m certain you have a preferred method of consuming information (e.g., reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, talking to an expert, etc.) as a few common methods. If you take a moment to consider if you favor one of these learning methods over another, you will realize you do have a preference. Figuring out what your ideal learning preference is important, as it will make it much more enjoyable to become someone who is always learning.

Recently I was talking to one of my younger clients. They were telling me about a future profession they want to pursue. However, they did not appreciate the work or mastery of information consumption that it would take to get to that level. This wasn’t the first time a young person expressed that they didn’t see value in educating themselves to get to the professional level they desired. However, the reality is that at some point they will need to invest in the time it will take to consume the knowledge they will require. Otherwise, they will be short changing both themselves and those expecting them to have attained a mastery of their professional knowledge. Realistically, there are not any short cuts to attaining certain professional careers or goals (e.g., becoming a medical doctor).

Yes, it would be ideal if we could skip steps along the process of educating ourselves when we either struggle or are not intrigued with a particular learning segment involved in our journey to master a topic. Although it is during the times when we are struggling and having to grind through to learn something, that we will recall and remember the most vividly, and can serve to help lock in the information we need to understand.

One of the tricks to being able to consume information that we can’t skip over, is to find creative ways we can make the information more palatable. Think in terms of gamification. Is it possible to learn the information via perhaps a kinesthetic approach (e.g., hands on) versus having to read about it? Or, could you find someone who has already mastered the subject and have them talk you through gaining an understanding of the information? Maybe another option would be drawing out and making the information come to life visually?

When I worked in the tech world, I would often ask the computer engineers to visually show me on a whiteboard what they had created. Upon seeing the information come to life both verbally and visually was my ideal way of learning complex information. This method worked for me every time. However, it took me a few years early on in my career to figure this out. Once I did, it unlocked ways for me to learn and then be able to communicate this information to others, which was an essential part of my profession.

A challenge many people face, is that they don’t realize they become too comfortable with reaching a knowledge plateau. In fact, this happens frequently after people finish their basic educational requirements. Fortunately, after a person gets past completing their basic requirements, they are free to begin only consuming information which is of interest to them.

Realistically there are many people who consume information simultaneously they are interested in, in combination with their required learning. If this wasn’t you, and it wasn’t me, after graduating from college was a liberating experience for a number of reasons. The number one reason was being able to learn what I wanted to learn about, and via the way I wanted to learn it.

Here’s my challenge to you. Are you willing to “Always be learning” (ABL)? I hope so. If you are, please consider these additional reasons to do so:

  • Instead of talking about others, when you are continuously consuming new information, you can share it with others to have them benefit from the information you learned versus being “that person” who is only able to talk about other people.
  • Challenge yourself to learn about topics you don’t understand, or don’t embrace. You will gain an entirely new perspective that will serve to inform you as you are factoring this new knowledge into the rest of your life. For example, learn about a different culture than your own to appreciate both the differences and similarities you will discover.
  • Whenever possible, and hopefully we will be able to do this more post the Pandemic, queue up a list of places to travel to. Seeing and interacting with people from different places either in your country, or in a different country can serve as some of the best sources for helping you to ABL.
  • You will be multiple levels happier when you are learning more about the topics which interest you, but that you have not achieved a mastery level of yet. When you can go both wide and deep on a topic, you will be inspired to continue fueling your level of knowledge and expertise in an area.
  • Become the person others describe as an “interesting person”, as a result of the knowledge they have amassed and regularly apply it in both their personal and professional lives. No one wants to be categorized as “dull” or not able to add value to a conversation.

Now that you have some reasons to always be learning, think about some of your own ways you can challenge yourself to do so. Learning is an investment in yourself, and with the amount of access to free information available to us either on-line or more traditional methods, there is no excuse for anyone not to take advantage of this.

TAGS: #Business #Management #Sales #Marketing #Success #Learning #Whyyoushouldalwaysbelearning #Lifelonglearner #Leadership #Mentoring #Mentor #Leadership #Teams #

A bridge to confidence.

Overview: Imagine if confidence was sustainable. Or, if confidence could be used only in support of making good things happen. What would your life, profession and our world look like via this type of lens?

There are few things in life that we don’t have to work to maintain in some way, yet there are many other aspects of our life we need to continuously work on. Perhaps improve, but ultimately accept and come to terms with. One of these areas is confidence.

When I was researching this topic, I was interested in finding out at what age do we become aware of being confident? As I was reviewing information, I came across a wonderful sentence in the opening of the article I was reading. It referred to the link between a person’s early self-esteem and confidence. The sentence which stood out expressed that “Self-esteem is your child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and social happiness.”. It went on to also say that self-esteem “is the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult.” Wow! That’s a powerful statement.

Now imagine if everyone had an idyllic childhood which laid out the perfect foundation for us to have our self-esteem and confidence built on? Some of us do, but many of us don’t. Even if our foundation started out strong, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be weakened by events which happen in our lives. The type of events that chip away at our foundation, and without addressing these chips or cracks, add up and end up eroding our confidence foundation.

For me personally, I recall a distinct moment in time that I understood what it meant to have my confidence take a hit. It happened in a second-grade math class when I was called up in front of the class to visually show how to get to the answer of a math problem. I was randomly asked by the teacher to do this. As I stood in front of the class unaware of how to accomplish what I was asked to do, or how to articulate this, I was overwhelmed by emotions. The first one was fear, followed by embarrassment and then ultimately an enormous crack in my confidence foundation.

Ultimately, I ended up in tears in front of the class. What was worse than this, was that I did not have any experience to draw from with how to contend with the way I was feeling. However, this experience stands out in my mind as the first time my emotions were tied to my confidence.

As I think back to that day many decades ago, I believe I realized I needed to find a way to build up confidence. To come up with a solution from having to experience those type of negative emotions again. Or, at least not frequently.

Although I realized early on I was never going to be a math genius, I was OK with that. However, finding out what I was good at became something I put myself on an early journey to figure out. Of course, being so young, I didn’t realize that I was intentionally trying to solve my own challenge to having experienced what it is like to have your confidence rocked. However, as I think back, this was essentially what I was doing, and have continued to do my entire life.

You could say my first experience with having my confidence being challenged turned out well. Perhaps you also might be under the impression that I had an easy road to working on building up my confidence? This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I continued to struggle in school. Why? Because no one realized I was dyslexic. In fact, I did not officially find out I was until I was tested in college at the age of 21. Yes, finding this out made many experiences in my life come into focus in terms of having a reason why I struggled academically, yet I still persevered to obtain strong grades sheerly based on tenaciously doing do.

So, do I think there is a bridge or a way for people to increase their confidence? At any point in their lives? Yes, I do, and it is something I have like most people who have figured out the confidence equation, work on all the time. I do this, because as I mentioned earlier, confidence can be fleeting, and it needs to be nurtured to maintain it.

To describe to others how to develop or increase their confidence, I can offer the following suggestions:

  • Find one thing you are good at. It doesn’t matter what it is. Focus on becoming exceptional at it, and draw from this like it is your confidence battery.
  • I’m certain you are good at more than one thing. However, do you know what your top talents are? When I found out what mine were, it was a liberating day, and allowed me to finally be able to focus on what I was good at, versus focusing on trying to fix or become better at things I did not have a talent for.
  • Visualize yourself in a really happy place or time in your life. Consider the factors which contributed to this experience. Can you repeat aspects of this?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who build you up, or tear you down? Or, perhaps it’s a mix. What if you could edit out some of the people who chip away at your confidence? I don’t subscribe to someone saying this is impossible. It might be harder to accomplish, but it will be worth achieving.
  • Seek out one person who can be your “confidence champion”. This person is someone who never lets you down, and always helps to build back up your confidence during those times you might be struggling on your own to do so.
  • Commit to embracing that you will need to continuously work on your confidence, as like a vine, it can wither without care.

Building your confidence bridge can actually be fun, although it will take hard work to accomplish. However, when we have confidence, it can positively impact our lives in numerous ways that will be worth putting in the effort to do so. One of them is being happier and healthier. Now go out and start building that bridge, and be proud of showing the world what it looks like.

TAGS: #Confidence #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Positivity #Benefitstobeingconfident #Howtobemoreconfident #Business #Motivation #Life #Profession #Success #Fear #Dyslexic #Dyslexia #Business #Leadership #Communication #Management #Strategy #Success #Teams #Motivation

Ageless. What are the rules?

My birthday is this month, and I find that I become more reflective when this day approaches. When I was in my thirties, I remember listening to a conversation about someone in their fifties talking about how they didn’t feel any different than they did when they were two decades below this. I found this to be fascinating. Namely because I expected to hear a much different version of this conversation.

One of the things that provided a lasting impression from this conversation, was that it opened my mind to considering age as only a data classification. Although in our society we tend to place both visible and invisible fences around age. What I mean is that there are distinct markers of when you can and cannot do certain things legally in the US (e.g., obtaining your driver’s license, being able to vote, being able to consume alcohol) to name a few.

Fast forward or rewind to the decade of living in your twenties. This is a wonderful decade where we are encouraged to explore our career options and where to live, who to partner with, make mistakes and figure out who we are, and what makes us happy. Of course, not everyone figures this out during this decade, but for the sake of conversation, let’s make this assumption.

In your thirty’s decade, you might find yourself feeling more settled. Or, becoming more confident about some of the choices you made in your twenties which are impacting this decade. Perhaps you are caring for someone other than yourself, or not. Either way, your perspective on the world is evolving, and you are becoming more aware of how you can and might be impacting the environment you are in.

As you ease into your forties, you might realize that you have achieved a level of accomplishment you have been striving to attain for years. Although you have been working at your achievements for a while, it might feel as if you woke up one day and finally feel a sense of relief. Relief that the hard work you have put in to your career or life is beginning to pay off. Or, perhaps not yet?

Arriving at the doorstep of your fifties is an interesting place to be. For me personally, I became far more accepting of both my limitations and achievements. I’m not suggesting I was settling and not attempting to pursue other goals, but I arrived at a place where I was finally more comfortable in my own skin. This partially had to do with the fact I changed careers after decades, and entered into one which I felt embraced me authentically. For the first time in my life. Yes, this felt amazing, but truthfully, I was also frustrated that it took so long to arrive here.

This leads me back to how as I look forward in time, that I will not be referring to my age. I feel it is restrictive, and not representative of who I am, what I have to offer, or the possibilities and opportunities which might not be there for me if have a self-imposed age restriction on myself. So, my solution to being able to look at my life going forward is having a mindset of being ageless. Just writing this makes me feel different, and less restricted. It’s also something I was thinking about how I can share with others. In a way, this is my birthday gift to others.

I appreciate the fact not everyone may feel comfortable with defining themselves as ageless, but if it helps to open up your mind to placing fewer restrictions on your life, and provides a new lens to opportunities, I’ll be satisfied with this.

Since I have a mentoring mindset and generally provide suggestions on how to navigate towards accomplishing something, below are some ideas for you to consider adopting an “ageless” mindset too.

  • I have always liked bright clothes and colors. Although I am also a big fan of the black and white combo. My point is that your choice of clothes and the colors you where should not be influenced by others. Consider your color choices as a reflection of who you truly are, and don’t let your age dictate what colors you think you can or can’t wear.
  • Do you have friends from different decades? I hope you do, or will consider finding people to include in your circle of friends who are not in your same decade. You will learn and be incredibly enriched by the thinking from people who are at different phases in their life. Factor in both the mentoring and reverse mentoring possibilities too.
  • If there is a hobby or something you have wanted to do, but you think you are too young or too old to pursue it, give it a try. You might be denying yourself from having immense satisfaction, or determine it’s not really as great as you thought it might be. You need to experiment to find this out, so what are you waiting for?
  • Have you always wanted to travel, but have not been able to do so for any number of reasons (e.g., budget, you are afraid to, you don’t know where to go)? All of these can be overcome with some planning, especially the budget factor. In fact, traveling on a restricted budget can actually be more fun, as it challenges you to be more creative with what you can do. Hint, in my opinion, traveling is one of the best ways to feel ageless.

So, the next time someone asks me what my age is, you know what I’ll be telling them…I’m ageless. I can’t wait to hear the responses from this statement, and what type of conversations I’ll be having when this happens. Perhaps you can adopt this ageless philosophy? Better yet, perhaps you can also re-write both the written and undocumented rules that can place unnecessary restrictions and unnecessary fear in our minds, and on how we lead and approach going forward in our lives. Enjoy the journey, and I hope to see you along the way.

TAGS: #Ageless #Aging #Birthday #Perception #Fear #Journey #Life #Leadership #Success #Mindset #Positivity #PositiveMindset #Fear #Redefiningage #Reimaginingaging  #Confidence #Motivation #Perception #Inspiration #Mentor #Mentoring B265